Home sharing is a powerful economic tool for people and communities. This is especially true in Portland. The Rose City was one of the first in the world to pass home sharing regulation, allow us to collect and remit taxes, and is our North American Operational Headquarters with over 350 employees.
Portland is home to a vibrant community of responsible hosts who share their homes to pay the bills. In fact, more than 250 Portland hosts say Airbnb has saved them from foreclosure or eviction. Our hosts act as ambassadors to our city, referring visitors to their favorite stores, coffee shops and restaurants. In the last year, Airbnb activity generated $2.2 million dollars in transient lodging taxes for the City of Portland. The city council has allocated that money towards affordable housing.
At Airbnb, we take our impact on communities seriously. Our Community Compact, released last November, outlines our commitment to strengthen cities around the world.
We have also taken steps to promote responsible home sharing and protect long term housing supply in Portland. Since our Community Compact was announced last November, we have conducted periodic reviews of the Portland listings on our platform and removed 44 unwanted commercial listings. These listings were operated by 13 hosts in violation of city regulations and do not reflect Airbnb’s vision for our community.
Today, we also want to share details about our Portland community and debunk myths about our housing impact.
An entire home listing does not equal a unit of long-term housing. Many accessory units, like a small bedroom over a garage, or portion of a dwelling with a separate entrance, can be listed as an “entire home.” These listings include a variety of converted basements and attics, private suites and accessory units, which often lack kitchens and other amenities required for long-term tenancy. Others are reserved for visiting family and friends and would never be on the long-term market. Some ‘entire home’ listings are long-term corporate housing and boutique hotels who advertise their units through our platform. Under Portland law, these types of entire home listings may be legally rented full time if they are part of the home in which a host lives, or a commercial hotel or B&B room.
The vast majority of hosts share their space infrequently. The number of nights booked is a better way to understand the potential impact a listing could have on housing availability. In Portland, nearly 85% of listings are booked for less than half a year. Nearly 40% are booked between 1 and 30 nights a year. While we cannot know for certain why hosts are hosting only occasionally, the hosting pattern suggests that the vast majority of hosts are casual hosts renting space that, even without Airbnb, would likely not be available on the long-term rental market.
Entire homes rented more than half a year through Airbnb make up one-tenth of 1% of Portland housing stock. Excluding hotels, B&Bs, private cottages, basement apartments and ADUs, there were 375 entire home listings** booked more than half the time over the last year. That’s only one-tenth of one percent of Portland’s housing units.***
Over the past two years, we have held an ongoing campaign to encourage our host community to obtain city-required permits. We provide an online responsible hosting site with registration resources and have held more than two dozen registration information sessions for hosts, including five Q&A sessions with city staff.
We know there is more work to be done. We look forward to working with City leaders and the community to promote responsible hosting in Portland.
*Data set includes listings booked from August 2015 – August 2016 still active as of August 1, 2016
**Removed listings containing keywords for hotel, B&B, private suite, guest cottage, or basement in the description. There are likely additional units that meet this definition, but it was not immediately apparent in the listing language.
***2014 Census data